What’s your Boston dining and nightlife wishlist?

Tell Us

After a survey revealed that a quarter of young people want to leave Boston, and an area chef bluntly asked diners on Instagram what they want from restaurants, we want to know what would make quality of life in Boston better.

Diners at Moon Bar in Boston.
The bar island at Moon Bar on the edge of Back Bay. Josh Reynolds/Boston Globe

A quarter of Greater Boston’s young adults are considering leaving in a handful of years, according to a recent study that is ringing alarm bells for city officials and industry leaders. 

Of the issues top of mind were affordability, jobs, and housing, a surprise to no one in Boston whose salaries aren’t keeping up with some of the country’s most expensive rent and home prices. 

This survey comes on the heels of years of discussion around young adult residents’ thoughts on Boston, particularly when it comes to its lackluster nightlife and affordable entertainment.

And at the same time, restaurant and bar owners are grappling with present-day issues: rising costs, staffing issues, and frustrated customers. One Boston area chef even took to Instagram recently to ask diners and industry workers what they wanted out of their dining experience in Boston.

“As a restaurant owner, sometimes we spin our wheels trying to find ways to be the best version of ourselves only to find that it’s not what people want,” said Will Gilson, chef at Puritan & Company, to his followers on Instagram. “So what are your gripes? What can we do better?”

The survey from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Foundation showed how important vibrant entertainment and nightlife options can be to younger adult residents living in Greater Boston communities.

The 823 respondents, ages 20 to 30, were asked what does help or could help them build community in Greater Boston. Of the dozen options, entertainment ranked first for those that have built a community at 37%, and also for those who say it could help them build community if it were improved at 32%.

“Young residents are eager to not only have more entertainment options, but to also harness those opportunities to meet people and make connections,” said Casey Baines, senior director of communications for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. 

Entertainment options — which Baines said could include a meal, a museum trip, or attending a festival — were either very or somewhat important to nearly three quarters of white millennials ages 28 to 30, Suffolk County residents, Plymouth County residents, and newer residents who had moved here in the last three years. 

To be clear, entertainment options and the vibrancy of nightlife and dining were not the top reasons when it came to deciding to leave. Availability of jobs was the most important factor, with 87% of respondents saying it was either very important or somewhat important, followed by cost of rent at 83%. Entertainment fell at 66% of respondents saying it was either somewhat important or very important in their decision to stay or go.

  • Spat over canceled reservation between North End chef and would-be customer goes viral

But the results still showed how critical nightlife and entertainment options can be to keeping young adults happy in a community. And Baines added that issues like cost of living and transportation can impact accessibility to fun outings in Greater Boston.

“The high cost of living in Greater Boston can hinder a young person’s ability to spend money on entertainment and leisure activities,” Baines said. “And a young resident’s transportation options that allow access to different parts of the region is key to the ability to explore entertainment options.”

At Boston.com, we’re taking a page from Gilson’s book. We want to know what your wishlist is when it comes to improving Boston’s nightlife and quality of life, as it relates to dining out and going out. 

What do you think will make Boston’s restaurant scene thrive? Is it making it easier to get liquor licenses? Is it an improved diversity of cuisine?

And what will it take for sleepy Boston’s nightlife to improve? More bars, or later hours? Or possibly, a later T to get you to and from bars? 

We want to hear from you about the challenges — and opportunities — that Boston’s restaurant and nightlife industries face, as well as how it’s impacted by the looming threat of young people leaving.

Tell us: What’s your Boston dining and nightlife wishlist?